By Sara Brown
1. Do No Harm With NAFTA
“We export 23% to 24% of U.S. pork production,” said Steve Meyer, vice president of pork analysis for Express Markets Inc. Analytics, during a National Pork Producers Council (NPPC) press conference Thursday. Any disruption to current trade levels would dramatically overfill U.S. pork supplies and pressure domestic hog prices.
2. Grow Our Exports
Pork leaders are trying to develop bi-lateral trade agreements with Asian-Pacific countries that were originally in the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) before it was nixed earlier this year. In an interview with AgDay, Ken Maschhoff, president of the National Pork Producers Council (NPPC), says 60% of the world’s population lives in the Asian-Pacific area. “Bi-lateral trade agreements with about four countries, starting with Japan, are paramount for us,” Maschhoff said.
“We have Malaysia, the Philippines and Vietnam [that] are also large targets in that area,” Maschhoff said. “We do have an opportunity to get [U.S. pork into Vietnam] at a more affordable cost than a lot of other countries can.”
3. Secure Our Food Supply
The U.S. hasn’t had an outbreak of foot and mouth disease (FMD) since 1926—but the threat is no less today than it was then. An estimated 1 million pigs are on being transported each day in the U.S. If a FMD event occurred, quarantine areas would be established, possibly limiting animal movement.
Priority No. 1 for the next farm bill is creating a FMD vaccine bank, and establishing a plan for manufacturing large supplies of several strains of the vaccine. The U.S. needs the ability to ramp up vaccine production quickly if an outbreak occurs.
Priority No. 2 is making sure pork producers can still function if a foreign animal disease (FAD) situation is present. The Secure Pork Supply Plan, developed by the National Pork Board and USDA, intends to help pig farmers prepare and quickly respond if an FAD event occurs.
Basics of the plan would include implementing sound biosecurity protocols, using premise identification tags, keeping detailed production records and maintaining all necessary health papers and certificates. Producers would also understand safe movement of animals from farms in an FAD control area to harvest channels or to other production sites as long as the pigs have no evidence of disease.
4. Repositioning Pork's Message to Consumers
Consumers of today's pork are not like they were even five years ago. Bill Even, National Pork Board CEO says the big changes that require a new marketing plan are driven by the three M's:
1. Millennials: America’s largest generation has increasing buying power and makes buying decisions differently than its predecessor generations.
2. Mobile: The speed of communication and access to information fuels demand, requiring constant attention to new means of communication.
3. Multicultural: Currently 36% of the U.S. population is multicultural. The newest arrivals to the U.S. and their families will make up 50% of the population by 2050.
The new marketing strategy will be deployed early in 2018.